June 26, 2023
by Thomas Lenz
Creighton University - Department of Pharmacy Practice
click here for photo and information about the writer

Monday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 371

Genesis 12:1-9
Psalm 33:12-13, 18-19, 20 and 22
Matthew 7:1-5

Praying Ordinary Time

Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

A Renewed Personal Encounter with Jesus

The readings of today seem all too familiar. Growing up Catholic, going to church at least once a week, and having attended Catholic schools until I reached adulthood, all seemed the ideal preparation for writing a reflection on today’s readings. It would be hard to guess how many times I had read or heard the first reading from Genesis and Matthew’s gospel story. In some ways, they almost seemed, dare I say, boring and old hat. The messages of “trust God” as Abram did and the “stop judging others” message from Matthew had been retold time and time again throughout my formative years (and thankfully in my adult life, too). What is there new to say besides the same old storylines? But, for some reason (and thank God for that), there was more this time. As I read through the readings and let them “soak” a bit, there was more. A kind of depth that I didn’t see before. And, perhaps most surprising, a connectedness between the readings that made great sense.

In the Genesis story of the first reading, God is relating to Abram in a way that he can hear, understand, and act upon. God asked Abram to move away from all that was familiar and to a place that he didn’t yet know. He was to go to a new land that was foreign and filled with uncertainty, and that surely brought on feelings of anxiety, discomfort, and maybe even fear. It was as if God was saying to Abram you cannot stay in the protected and familiar space in which you came from. If you want to move in my direction, you must let go to move forward. Leave behind that which gives you certainty and security, and you will find me. In fact, within the first few sentences of the reading, Abram is told five times that he will be blessed if he does this. All will be well (and even very well) if he just lets go.

Then, in the Gospel of Matthew, we hear the famous story about the splinter and the wooden beam. This story challenges us to recognize the beam(s) we carry around in our eyes that don’t allow us to see—what an awesome metaphor! In the same way that God is challenging Abram to see more clearly by leaving all that is familiar, Jesus takes it a step further by telling us that we cannot see at all because we are unwilling to recognize in ourselves what we seem to desperately try to protect at all costs. It is easy for us to see something relatively minor in others (the splinter) that should be let go, but we are unable to see something even more obvious in ourselves. Why do we willingly choose to carry around a beam in our eye? It seems to be the same message God gave to Abram but just more dramatically stated by Jesus because we cannot seem to grasp the message. We seem to want to hold on to all that is familiar, even if it causes harm and anxiety and doesn’t allow us to see. The supposed security, safety, and predictability of the familiar beam that we hold onto is easier for us to deal with than the unknowing of letting it go—even if it causes us pain and the inability to truly see. But, as God told Abram, if we can find a way to let go, all will be very well—even blessed. It doesn’t seem we could get any better security than that!

The storylines from today have good messages about faith, trust, and non-judgment. But within those storylines is also something important for us to pay attention to about letting go. Perhaps we are to let go of the obvious and familiar story so we can see the larger story. Maybe it’s about letting go of our small selves, the one that doesn’t allow us to see a different and more spacious storyline. It seems that we need to move, change, grow, and not stand still being complacent with the familiar. If we can recognize that our interpretation of the same old storyline has become safe and secure but also boring and sleepy, then maybe we are falling asleep, and it’s time to take out the wooden beam and move on from home. As the Lord said to Abram, if we can do this, then “All the communities of the earth shall find blessing in you.”

Click on the link below to send an e-mail response
to the writer of this reflection.

Sharing this reflection with others by Email, on Facebook or Twitter:

Email this pageFacebookTwitter

Print Friendly

See all the Resources we offer on our Online Ministries Home Page

Daily Reflection Home

Collaborative Ministry Office Guestbook